CD reviews: Pitbull, Kurt Rosenwinkel

  • Updated: November 24, 2012 - 3:50 PM
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Pitbull

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POP/ROCK

Pitbull, "Global Warming" (RCA)

Partying is a major component of the Pitbull brand. As his songs continually insist, Pitbull is a self-made tycoon, the bilingual Cuban-American rapper from Miami now awash in jet-setting luxury.

But rapping isn't Pitbull's real forte. He's a spotter of songs and talent; he and his team do as much borrowing (generally credited) as inventing. Pitbull shares tracks with singers, DJs and secondhand hooks. Over the past decade his list of collaborators has been long and broad, spanning hip-hop, R&B, dance music and Latin music across the Americas. Pitbull has made it his business to latch onto and then remake for the pop-rap market songs that are hits on local turf, from club dance floors to South American airwaves.

There's one of those finds on "Global Warming": "Tchu Tchu Tcha." It was an accordion-driven dance tune from northeastern Brazil recorded by Joao Lucas and Marcelo that was picked up for post-goal dancing by Brazilian soccer star Neymar. Nearly all that's left here is the title's syncopated syllables for the chorus. The Brazilian beat has been swapped out for Congolese-tinged guitars, while Pitbull offers crude come-ons, and Enrique Iglesias moans, "You're what I want." It's crass and determined.

Most of the album trades on easy familiarity, with songs using essential hooks from Mickey and Sylvia's "Love Is Strange," A-ha's "Take on Me" and Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do." The sources wouldn't matter if Pitbull added much to them.

The songs set out to ennoble (and, no doubt, encourage) brief club hookups. But few of them -- with the exception of "Last Night," sung by Havana Brown -- find much pleasure in the encounters. Christina Aguilera emotes over the top in "Feel This Moment," while Chris Brown sings, quite unconvincingly, "Hope We Meet Again."

Pitbull's raps repeatedly claim that his partners are interchangeable; there's more tabulation than titillation. What's supposed to be a party sounds more like a job.

JON PARELES, NEW YORK TIMES

Jazz

Kurt Rosenwinkel, "Star of Jupiter" (Wommusic)

Guitarist Rosenwinkel invites you into his crystalline world. His two-disc set of originals is big into repeating figures that give structure. Grooves and vamps are part of the mystery here, and the leader's soaring melodies impress. The overall effect is pleasurable and unique. While he clearly draws from the airy lines of fellow guitarist Pat Metheny, Rosenwinkel sounds like no one else. His "Jupiter" world could be peopled by superheroes. He constructs cosmic confections and often sings wordlessly along with his sizzling solos. His industrial tone contrasts nicely with the sweeter surroundings.

KARL STARK, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

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